As marketers, we can all acknowledge that email has increasingly become less effective, which is oh-so frustrating! Recently, notorious email expert and consultant Jay Schwedelson's online Guru Conference knocked our socks off with excellent tips and tricks to try in the world of email marketing.
Nancy Harhut, Chief Creative Officer EBT Marketing, ran the session, "7 Human Behavior Hacks that Give You an Unfair Advantage." She began by explaining how humans rely on shortcuts to make innumerable daily decisions and that marketers can tap into psychology to motivate engagement with emails. She then delved into decision science and provided 7 tactics that take advantage of how people unknowingly make decisions when given the right prompt. We have summarized them here because they are so invaluable.
Emails That Spur People to Action
Hack #1 - Subject Line Words That Beg to Be Opened
Nancy said you should employ "eye magnet" words that attract the human eye. These are words that have positive connotations and are proven in studies to attract attention amongst other copy on a screen. These words work best at or near the beginning of email subject lines.
Some specific words Nancy shared are "new," "secrets," and "inside look." Additionally, people's names work in this same fashion, meaning personalization in email subject lines and within copy can encourage open rates.
Hack #2 - Getting Quick Responses
To get a fast response to emails, Nancy says you must create a sense of urgency or exclusivity. When you make people feel time-pressed or special, they are more likely to respond. Subject lines examples employing this include:
- I'm holding one of the last 15 seats for you!
- T-Shift Daily Deal: New Squirrel Pajamas Sale!
- Last Chance to join Expedia Rewards before the public launch!
- You're invited to an Insider preview...Be the first to order our pizza of the month!
Another suggested ploy is to use a countdown clock within the email, which visually conveys urgency:
Hack #3 - The Ripple Effect of the Consistency Principle
Nancy explains that according to the Consistency Principle if you can get someone to say "yes" once, a type of momentum builds, and it is easier for them to say "yes" the next time you ask.
With this in mind, try reserving your first ask/commitment to a relatively small item and then escalate from there. And as you do, remind them of their earlier "yes" so that it is fresh on their mind. Some ways to do this include:
- Thanks for your ongoing support. Want to help out again? - Here, you remind them they have helped in the past, and you are easing them into saying yes again.
- Take this quiz to see if you qualify for a reverse mortgage. - Here, you are not asking if someone wants a reverse mortgage; you are just asking if they'd like to take a quiz. Something small. And then, in the end, you can ask for something a little more like: Would you like to talk to someone about your options?
- Don't forget Joanie this Christmas. Nancy, your gift list is here. - Here, you are following up with a commitment they made before and suggesting how easy it would be to use the same list and knock out some shopping.
Hack #4 - How Availability Bias Turns Doubters Into Buyers
Nancy explains that people judge the likelihood of an event happening based on how easily they can think of an example. So if you can create personal relevance that helps them recall or imagine a situation, people are more likely to agree with what you are asking. She says the goal is to stir people's memories/imaginations before you ask them to do anything.
Some examples of this in action are:
- Until now, you and your PDF users have had to compromise when it comes to your PDF solution. You've either had to pay for functionality meant for architects & engineers, or you've had to trade down to less power. — Once you have the reader thinking about the pain point, then you pitch a new PDF option.
- The Boston Globe is good for your avid readers, sports nuts, political junkies... — Now that you have the reader imagining people in their life that fit the descriptions, you hit them with a subscription pitch.
Hack #5 - The One Thing to Say to Increase Response
Nancy says supplying people with a reason why goes a long way in triggering compliance. In fact, according to research, the actual reason doesn't even matter that much, with compliance rates increasing even when random reasons are provided. Examples include:
- Because you need a candle for every room...take $10 off.
- Try us for 9 bucks because my dad loves us
- You Scored Big — because Sitewide Offers Are the Best Kind
Hack #6 - The Journalist's Secret to Boost Email Readership
Nancy explains that according to cognitive research that has produced the Information Gap Theory if there is a gap between what you know and what you want to know, you will take action. This is why heeding a journalist's toolbelt of the 5Ws + 1H helps people take action. You want to pique interest with the words: who, what, when, where, why, and how. Examples include:
- Who was the best dressed at last night's Oscars?
- What would Jesus do?
- Where to Soak up the last days of summer?
- Why is traveling solo more popular than ever?
Hack #7 - Which Days Are the Best for Success?
Nancy says holidays and special celebrations tap into people's knack for recognizing days different from other days of the year. And there are many ways to do this. You can leverage:
- "top tier holidays" (i.e., Christmas, Hanukkah, Thanksgiving)
- "middle-tier holidays" (i.e., Valentine's Day, 4th of July)
- "third-tier holidays (i.e., international beer day, anniversaries, personal birthdays)
With third-tier holidays, get creative! You can celebrate people's anniversaries and milestones with your business, birthdays (even if it's your company's), and all the made-up holidays that make sense with your business.
The Truth About B2B Email Deliverability
Need more tips to keep your B2B email humming? Check out our ebook, The Truth About B2B Email Deliverability. This ebook shows you how to run better email campaigns that win you more business! Learn best practices, the ins and outs of email metrics, little-known workarounds from marketing experts, and much more!